Home Blog Get into the Holiday Spirit at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

Get into the Holiday Spirit at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

Christmas Markets Cologne
Christmas Markets Cologne

The Christmas Markets in Cologne, also known as “Weihnachtsmärkte,” are a beloved holiday tradition in the city. Held annually in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the markets feature dozens of stalls selling festive gifts, traditional food and drink, and holiday decorations.

Overview

The markets are held in various locations throughout the city, each with its own unique atmosphere and offerings. Still, most of them are in proximity and blend into one another. So, you can take a stroll through the center of the town and experience every single one of them. A special highlight is the renaissance fair-style Christmas Market close to the Chocolate Museum. (Yes, Cologne does have a Chocolate Museum.)

History of the Christmas Markets in Cologne

The Christmas Markets in Germany have a long and storied history that dates back to the Middle Ages. Originally, the markets were held as a way for people to purchase goods for winter, including warm clothing and food. Over time, the markets evolved to include a wider range of goods and have become a beloved holiday tradition.

What to Expect at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

Visitors to the Christmas Markets can expect to find a festive atmosphere. Twinkling lights, holiday music, and the aroma of spiced mulled wine and roasted chestnuts filling the air. Stalls at the markets offer a wide range of goods, including handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, and traditional German treats like gingerbread and marzipan.

Must-Try Foods and Drinks at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

No visit to the Christmas Markets would be complete without trying some of the delicious food and drink on offer. Some must-try items include:

  • Mulled wine: Also known as “Glühwein,” this warm, spiced wine is a staple at any Christmas market. It’s the perfect way to stay warm while browsing the stalls.
  • Bratwurst: These grilled sausages are a German classic and can be found at stalls throughout the markets.
  • Stollen: This fruitcake-like bread is a holiday favorite in Germany. It’s often filled with raisins, candied fruit, and nuts and dusted with powdered sugar.
  • Lebkuchen: These spicy gingerbread cookies are a must-try at the Christmas markets. They can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are often adorned with icing and sprinkles.

Tips for Visiting the Christmas Markets

  • Plan your visit: The Christmas Markets are popular, so it’s a good idea to plan your visit in advance. Consider what you’d like to see and do, and make a plan. That way, you ensure you have time to visit all the markets you’re interested in.
  • Dress warmly: The markets are held outdoors, so be sure to dress warmly in layers to stay comfortable.
  • Bring cash: Many of the stalls at the markets only accept cash, so be sure to bring enough to make your purchases.
  • Get there early: The markets can get busy, especially on weekends and in the evenings. To avoid the crowds, try to visit during the day or early in the evening.

While you’re at it

In addition to the Christmas Markets, there are plenty of other holiday activities to enjoy in Cologne. Some other things to consider include:

  • Visit the Cologne Cathedral: The city’s famous cathedral is even more beautiful during the holidays. According to legend, the magnificent reliquary contains bones of the Three Kings.
  • Visit other churches: Most churches in Cologne host display nativity scenes during the holiday season. They usually have an individual and humorous touch to them.
  • Take a boat tour: See the city from a different perspective with a festive boat tour along the Rhine River.
  • Go ice skating: The city’s many outdoor ice rinks are a fun way to get into the holiday spirit.
  • Attend a holiday concert or performance: Cologne has a vibrant cultural scene. So, there are plenty of holiday-themed concerts, plays, and other performances to enjoy during the season.

Overall, the Christmas Markets in Cologne are a must-visit for anyone in the city during the holiday season. With their festive atmosphere, delicious food and drink, and unique gift offerings, they are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Plan your visit today and experience the magic of the Weihnachtsmärkte for yourself.

Christmas Markets in Cologne – FAQ

When are the Christmas Markets in Cologne held?

The Christmas Markets in Cologne are typically held from the end of November to just before Christmas Day. Some span longer, until the sixth of January, the day of the Three Kings.

Where are the Christmas Markets in Cologne held?

The Christmas Markets in Cologne are held in various locations throughout the city, including at the Cologne Cathedral, in the Old Town, and at Neumarkt Square.

What can I expect to find at the Christmas Markets in Cologne?

Visitors to the Christmas Markets in Cologne can expect to find a festive atmosphere with twinkling lights, holiday music, and the aroma of spiced mulled wine and roasted chestnuts filling the air. Stalls at the markets offer a wide range of goods, including handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, and traditional German treats like gingerbread and marzipan.

Sources